December 30, 2009

Doctor Who: End of Time, part 1

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I watched End of Time (part 1) with my parents on Saturday night after returning from watching Avatar in 3D. (If you haven’t seen that movie, it’s excellent.) We watched most of Waters of Mars before End of Time. Last time my parents saw any Doctor Who was when I lived at home and was watching Peter Davidson and Tom Baker in classic Who in reruns. I’ve been so involved in watching the series that it’s easy to forget how much back-story is left out if someone is just coming to the show.

Spoilers after the jump.

I’m not really sure what to think of the episode. The story was confusing and didn’t pull you in. It is this Doctor’s last story: why doesn’t the story focus on him? On the inner turmoil we only glimpse in the diner scene with Wilf? Tennant is so poignant in that scene and yet we get more of the Master flitting around and gorging himself than we do of the Doctor doing more than just running around. And don’t get me started on the cut scenes with the Master laughing.

The Master is just too far over the top. I’m all for campiness in Doctor Who, but what’s with the electric sparks out of his hand and flying around like Neo in the last Matrix movie? The four-beat drum rhythm that the Master hears (and that the Doctor hears later) being the heart beat of a Time Lord was both obvious and ingenious.

I’ll have to watch the episode again to see how the experience sits. Overall, I’m seriously disappointed because I wanted this episode to be about David Tennant’s Doctor dealing with the repercussions of things that have happened. Instead, we only get a glimpse of it in the diner scene with Wilf. And that’s about it. (One of the Doctor Who podcasts I listen to said that the most interesting part of Waters of Mars was the last 10 minutes when the Doctor and Adelaide were discussing the repercussions of the team being saved. Similarly, the scenes where the Doctor shares emotion in this episode are what… four minutes, top?)

This is really an episode about the Master taking over the world. (And everyone in the world, for that matter. “The Master Race” was both brilliant and a little too much.) Resurrection gone wrong? Say what? A “book of Saxon”? You mean there was a religious following to people who were supposed to have forgotten the entire year that happened at the end of Season Three?

In some ways, I’m glad to see RTD moving on. I’ll always be a fan of his because he resurrected my favorite show in a brilliant way. He added David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston to the list of Doctors. I like most of Steven Moffat’s I like that RTD brings back some of the Classic-era monsters and gives them a new spin. (Please, please no more Daleks, especially not when they were supposedly all destroyed in the Time War. Although, I suppose if the Daleks can come back then the Time Lords can too…)

I’ll have to wait until the last episode of DT’s reign this Saturday to see what happens and to put these last three episodes in context.

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